More snow pictures of the most recent storm to hit NC.
Twas the night before Christmas and left at my house, a bag of sweet potatoes for the Museum Bears. (If I were Sarah, I am sure I could have come up with some great rhyme… in fact she probably could write my entire Christmas post to the Poem Twas the night before Christmas- check out her previous poems here and here).
The day started with me very very tired, and unable to find my glasses. I’ve got about 10-15 pillows on my bed and even removing all of them still no glasses. I gave up, found my spare glasses, made a cup of coffee, and made my way to the Museum around 5:15
I move all the logbooks in one space and check out my “to do” lists, and in a room that has light not on a timer so I can see easier.
Yesterday, we solved the mystery as to why the waterfall at wolves was not running, so I was able to cross that off my list. (The wolves- I assume the male wolf – ate the electrical wires. That will have to be a separate post at a later date). Concerns about the muskrat were top priority so I donned my headlamp to go check him out. I couldn’t really see him, but did see that he had eaten overnight so I sigh of relief for now.
I fumble around- not getting into any sort of groove. I put all the diets on the kitchen counter to help me make a plan of attack. My plan of attack is quite chaotic. I start something, realize I can’t see too well in the dark, re group, start something else…things go on like this for a while and before I know it I’ve been here 90 minutes.
Katy warned me that the ferrets would be difficult to keep in their exhibit and would rush the door upon closing. I felt confident in my plan however: I knocked on their door to wake them up (wanting them to use the litter pans before cleaning). Came back in five minutes with a CRATE and put all four inside:
Katy said to put them all in the yellow ring (below) upon leaving and that gives you enough time to close the door. However, what really gives you enough time to close the door is spilling furotone (oil supplement) on each ferret so that everyone is licking everyone else and not even concerned about the door!
It’s light enough so I go make sure I can see the remaining animals. Franklin is busy eating his food and everyone else seems fine.
Donald and his granddaughter Caroline arrive a few minutes before 8AM. Caroline looks tired (I feel her pain), but Donald gets her to pose for the camera. I’ve never seen Donald not smile. It’s really amazing if you think about it. We review the plan for the Farmyard, get Caroline some gloves, and head outside.
It takes a little effort to get our vehicles started, but we prevail. I was so hot working inside that I forgot it was just over 30 degrees outside and my drive is more than quite chilly.
I take a bit of a skid through the icy patch at the MIST entrance in Catch the Wind. I hit wolves first. Both the wolves are waiting at the den area. No issues at all here. Everything is fine so move quickly to the bear exhibit.
Mimi, as expected, is sleeping in the house. I wake her, she huffs at me, I feel badly, she huffs at me again, I toss out food, she goes and eats. Gus is snoozing in the cave (sorry about the bad photo): he lifts his head and then puts it back down.
Lemurs is the next stop. Absolutely no problems here- it’s actually a bit confusing. No one yelled at me, no one peed on me. I did not step in anything I didn’t want to. I did not dump my poop bucket. No lemur exited their stall. I think this is a first on Christmas to not have even one small problem occur. (Although as I type I realize I left the dustpan in the disinfectant can… I’ll have to remember to get that tonight.
The last stop is the bear cliff to check things out and give Yona her meds. I thought this would be a bit difficult, but Virginia has made her way down into the yard, so Yona just needs to stretch, stare at me for a minute or two, and then wander over to me at the fence.
I was even prepared: I had no yogurt cup but grabbed an extra bowl from lemurs to give Yona her meds in.
I head back to the Farmyard, deal with the raptors, and then head to the building. Dishes goes much better than last year (I just did not wear my glasses).
It’s possibly been one of the easiest Christmas’ I’ve worked – and I’ve worked every Christmas since 1993! I know the afternoon is still coming, but so far, so good. Merry Christmas everyone.
(Click here to read about some of my past Christmas’ at the Museum).
In my Caterpillars post, I talked about getting stung by one. In this post, I will show you a couple of other caterpillars that I found in Explore the Wild.
Once I found one caterpillar, which was a saddleback, my eyes began to see all the other caterpillars that are out in the area.
This caterpillar (above) was on the climbing structure in the lemur yard. I found it while I was putting the morning food out for the Ring-tailed lemurs.
This caterpillar (below) was on the water bowl in the wolf side cages.
Next time that you are outside, take a closer look at the plants or even different structures and you might see a caterpillar.
I’ve received a variety of information from USFWS and RWC personnel in the past week or so about red wolves so I thought I would share with you. Click on any of the links below:
Did you know that you can be stung by caterpillars?
I was surprised when I got stung by one on the wolf cliff in Explore the Wild. I didn’t know that it was a caterpillar at first but after describing what it felt like to the other keepers, they said it had to have been a caterpillar. At that point, I was on a mission to find out what exactly stung me. I needed to have a plan to properly complete my mission so that I could educate myself, other keepers and museum visitors.
First, I needed to remember where on the wolf cliff that I got stung. Second, I needed to have a camera on me at all times to capture the creature. Not a very complex plan but it turned out to be harder than I thought. Could it have been a sting and run?
After about two weeks, I finally found the creature. On a small plant, on top of the wolf cliff I found the caterpillar.
Any ideas on what kind of caterpillar?
Seeing caterpillars is not new here at the museum. Keeper Sarah and Ranger Greg have made post on these interesting creatures. In my next post, I will show you other caterpillars I have encountered while out in Explore the Wild.
more bad news for the red wolves… a wolf was shot last week and now a second one this week. Here’s the link to previous information and a copy of today’s news release is below that.
November 1, 2013
*Reward Offered for Information Regarding to a Second Red Wolf Death*
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting assistance with an investigation involving the suspected illegal take of a radio-collared red wolf that was recently found dead. The federally protected wolf was found with a suspected gunshot wound on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, south of Roper and west of Lake Phelps in Washington County, North Carolina.
This is the second wolf found dead this week.
Anyone with information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property on the subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of this red wolf may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500.
A total of 10 red wolves have died since January 1, 2013. Of those 10, three were struck and killed by vehicles, one died as a result of non-management related actions, and six were confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths.
The red wolf is protected under The Endangered Species Act. The maximum criminal penalties for the unlawful taking of a red wolf are one year imprisonment and $100,000 fine per individual. Anyone with information on the death of this red wolf or any others, past or future, is urged to contact Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.
The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations have been decimated due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1967, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful zoo-based breeding program. Consequently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980.
The first litter of red wolves born in captivity occurred in 1977. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7 million acres.
About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five northeastern North Carolina counties. Additionally, nearly 200 red wolves comprise the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program in sites across the United States, still an essential element of red wolf recovery.
The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other being the gray wolf, (*Canis* *lupus*). As their name suggests, red wolves are known for the characteristic reddish color of their fur most apparent behind the ears and along the neck and legs, but are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs. Intermediate in size to gray wolves and coyotes, the average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about 4 feet long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.
Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity.
To learn more about red wolves and the Service’s efforts to recover them, please visit www.fws.gov/redwolf<http://www.fws.gov/redwolf>.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Red Wolf Recovery Program
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954
Contact: David Rabon, 252-473-1132
October is wolf physical month. This is the one time of year we get our hands on the wolves and check them out. We were particularly looking forward to getting the male, 1414, on the table. He is huge (almost 80 pounds) and he came to us with a growth on the side of his body that we wanted to look at and remove.
Since 1414 arrived in November 2012, this was our first experience with him for a physical. We learned he is a great patient once he gets on the table. However, he did not “go to sleep” on the same timeline that other wolves have when given their pre-sedation medicine. Typically, while in the crate, we inject some medicine to make the wolves go to sleep. 10-20 minutes later, we can safely muzzle them and move them to the treatment table and do all we need to do.
1414 took over 70 minutes to get somewhat sleepy. Long story short, we finally got him to the table. He is so big he basically filled up the table.
Basically, he was in great shape except for the growth on the side of his body. Dr. Vanderford was able to remove it, although it took awhile. The wolf will spend a few days in a holding cage to limit his movement, but all seems to be okay.
We’ll catch the female up another day and do her physical so we should have more photos to show you soon.
As in years passed, the museum is gearing up for Wolf Awareness Week. At 2pm starting October 13th,there is a Keeper talk located at wolf overlook all week long.
This year, our local chapter of the AAZK will be at wolf overlook on Saturday and Sunday to help guests make enrichment for our own red wolves.
Those days are Sunday, the 13th of October 1pm-4pm and Saturday the 19th of October 12pm-3pm.
The red wolf SSP meeting took place the end of July. About 20 folks from institutions that house red wolves were able to make it to the meeting. Becky Bartel, the Assistant Coordinator of the Red Wolf Re3cvoery Program wrote a great post on their Blog about the meeting. I highly recommend checking out their blog ( http://trackthepack.blogspot.com) for information about the red wolf recovery program and the red wolves that roam free in the wild.
Our two wolves- 1414 & 1287 – will be here again for next breeding season.
We’re really hoping for some puppies as this is really the last chance female 1287 has as she is just about over-the-hill.
Will Waddell makes bets, or bargains, or threats… every year. He’ll do something crazy if a certain pairing of wolves has puppies. This year it’s our pair: